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Coolant or Antifreeze?

Though it is a common misconception, coolant and antifreeze are actually the same thing!

This fluid, which is mixed with water in your engine sometimes called “radiator fluid,” circulates through your vehicle’s engine and cooling system to keep it running at the optimum temperature.

As your engine operates, it creates a lot of heat. The combustion of fuel combined with friction from its many moving parts means the engine runs very hot, even when it’s cold outside.

The primary job of the coolant and cooling system is to prevent your engine from overheating. An overheated engine is a common cause of engine breakdowns on the road. But this is preventable! With proper maintenance, like cooling system inspections and coolant flushes, your cooling system is designed to keep up with the high demands of your vehicle’s hot engine.

Coolant is also known as antifreeze. Just like you don’t want your engine to become too hot, you also don’t want it to become too cold. Like Goldilocks, your engine needs the temperature to be just right.

The antifreeze in your vehicle’s engine prevent the key fluids and parts from freezing in extreme temperatures. This fluid combines with the water in the system to lower the freezing point and raise the boiling point. Even on mornings below freezing, you’ll still be able to start your vehicle.

But you can’t just dump the coolant or antifreeze into the system and hope for the best, and you can’t put it in once and ignore it. The fluid must be mixed at a specific ratio to be most effective. If the level is incorrect, the fluid can lead to rust and contaminants that will do more harm than good.

If your fluid level is too low, the vehicle’s system likely has a leak. Coolant isn’t used up in the engine, but circulates continuously. Fluid can get out and contaminants can get in. Have it inspected right away to avoid bigger problems that leave you stuck in the cold.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for any season by keeping your coolant in prime condition! Whether you call it “coolant,” “antifreeze,” or “radiator fluid,” this fluid is vital to your engine’s operation and the health of your vehicle.

Call our team of certified technicians to schedule your next appointment: (615) 327-9600